Bath’s role in a monster novel.

Bath finally gets around to honouring the creator of the dark gothic novel Frankenstein next week with the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to its author  Mary Shelley.

Mary Shelley

It’ll be attached to the outside wall of the building housing the main entrance to the Roman Baths. This former Concert Hall was built on the site of a lodging house – next to the Grand Pump Room – where Mary stayed after she arrived in the city in September 1816.

The Abbey Church Yard 1889-90. Mary lodged in the premises to the right of The Civet Cat and to the left of the Grand Pump Room. © B&NES

While she was here she attended scientific lectures by a Dr Wilkinson in the nearby Kingston Lecture Room. He suggested that one day electricity – then in its infancy – might be used to bring inanimate matter to life.

This idea resonated with Mary who had made notes of the nightmares she had during a stormy night in Switzerland earlier that year when staying with the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Out of these experiences came the novel Frankenstein.

Mary and Percy married in December 1816. By the time Mary left Bath in February 1817 much of the novel had been written. It was published anonymously in London in January 1818. Mary died in 1851 when 54 years old.

The former concert hall – turned Roman Baths entranceway​ now stands on the site of Mary’s lodgings. The Grand Pump Room is to the right. It’s my understanding the plaque will go on one side of the entrance way to the ticket office.

The unveiling will take place at 6pm on Tuesday, February 27th and everyone is welcome to attend.